Libertarians from across Illinois gathered in Bloomington on Saturday to select candidates for November’s election.
The first contest was for Governor. Three people were seeking the nomination: Grayson “Kash” Jackson, Jon Stewart, and Matthew C. Scaro. Each was given a chance to speak.
Jackson elaborated on his slogan, “Restoring Freedom to Illinois” with quotes from America’s founders, Ben Franklin and James Madison, and a message of unity. “I do not see color, I do not see race, and I do not see political affiliation. My job is to be the vanguard — to willingly step into the fray for the common American. Wherever Constitutional freedoms are ignored, maimed, and disallowed, I will be there to hold those who attempt to strangle us with the yoke of such heinous acts… I will hold them accountable for their misdeeds.”
“My goal is to restore the balance between government and the rights of every citizen.”
Next up to the podium was Jon Stewart. He emphasized his pragmatism, 25 years of political experience, and positive relationship with the media. “We need to send out not just the best Libertarian to the public of Illinois, but the best overall candidate in general who can win in November.”
Last was Matthew C. Scaro. He told the crowd that freedom is something they are born with, not granted to them by the government. “I’m running for governor of the state of Illinois, but the truth is I don’t want to govern you. You all govern yourself just fine. I am here to govern the government itself. I am here to take away that power that they wield over you, that money that they steal from you every day.”
Voting began after the speeches. Candidates were required to receive a majority in order to win. The rules stated that if nobody received a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes would be removed from the ballot and a new round of voting would commence until someone got more than 50%.
In the first round, Jackson received the most votes with 47.6%. Scaro had the fewest votes which disqualified him from the next round of voting. Before the second round began, Scaro gave a concession speech and urged his supporters to support Jon Stewart.
The second round resulted in a tie vote, something which shocked many in the audience. Both Jackson and Stewart had 49.58% of the vote. One person voted “none of the above.” At that point, State Chairman Lex Green told the audience they would continue voting until there was a winner — even if that meant going 36 rounds.
Before the third round began, candidates scrambled to get their supporters in the room. The rules required that all voting members be physically present in the room once the ballots started being distributed. 126 people voted in the third round, which was 5 more than had voted in the second round. 64 was deemed the majority.
Kash Jackson won the third round with 65 votes (51.57%). Stewart received 56 votes (44.44%). Four people voted “none of the above” and one person did not vote. Stewart gave a concession speech followed by a speech from Jackson.
“For every naysayer that tells you their vote doesn’t matter, you were here when history was made and you got to see where one vote matters. Your vote matters.” Jackson promised that the Libertarian Party would get over 5% of the vote in the general election. 5% is the threshold at which a political party becomes an established political party in Illinois. It is a goal that third-parties aim for.
After that came the Lieutenant Governor race. Sanj Mohip and David Earl Williams III faced off. Mohip easily won with 72.95%.
There were also uncontested races.
Mike Leheney was selected for Treasurer.
Claire Ball was selected for Comptroller.
Bubba Harsy was selected for Attorney General.
Steve Dutner was selected for Secretary of State.
That means the Libertarian Party could have a a full slate with a candidate in every statewide contest.
Their next hurdle will be to collect 25,000 signatures, a number 5 times higher than is required of the Democratic and Republican parties.
Petitioning starts on March 27th and lasts three months.
Rep. Bustos endorses Londrigan in the 13th
Democratic candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan picked up another endorsement. Speaking at the Springfield Mel-O-Cream Donuts shop, Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-17) endorsed the Democratic challenger in the 13th. Bustos is the only Democratic Congressional representative from Central Illinois. During her speech, Bustos spoke in favor of unions as key to growing the middle class. The event was attended by around 50 people.
To learn more about Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and the other candidates in the 13th, check out our Campaign Headquarters page.
Nonprofit pushing Illinois to lower voting age to 16 for local elections
While Illinois lawmakers and local officials are considering raising the legal age to smoke and own firearms, a push to lower the voting age is gaining steam.
Vote 16 Illinois is a chapter of Vote 16 USA, a nonprofit with a goal to lower the legal voting age requirements for local elections. The group is working with state lawmakers to start the conversation about getting 16-year-olds the right to vote.
Brandon Klugman, with Vote 16’s national chapter, said that voting at 16 sets the tone for civic participation in later years.
“When people vote in the first election they’re eligible for, they’re much more likely to continue voting in subsequent elections,” he said.
Perhaps more compelling to detractors of allowing a 16-year-old to vote in local elections: If they’re already working and paying taxes, shouldn’t they have a say in that process?
“Young people who are working and paying taxes are definitely aware of that fact,” Klugman said.
When asked why it’s acceptable for a young person to vote five years before they can buy cigarettes, as was approved by the Illinois Senate in April, Klugman said the timelines aren’t comparable.
“Each age line should be set at what makes the most sense in that particular behavior and that particular activity,” he said.
Allowing local votes at 16 would require changing the state’s constitution. The Illinois Constitution would have to be amended to allow only home-rule municipalities the option to lower their age requirement. It’s not impossible. It was changed via referendum in 1988 to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, where it stands now.
Eighteen would still be the age limit for elections with federal consequences.
Article by the Cole Lauterbach, for more INN News visit ILnews.org
Springfield Daily Radio – Mike Leheney Interview
In this episode of the Thomas Clatterbuck Show, we interview Mike Leheney. Leheney is the Libertarian candidate for State Treasurer.
Our first topic was what exactly the Treasurer does, and how it differs from the comptroller. While he is in favor of consolidating what can be consolidated, Leheney opposed combining the two offices.
One of the Treasurer’s main jobs is to invest the state’s money. Although the state is behind on its bills and pension obligations, the state still has a large amount of money to invest. The current treasurer has taken criticism for “activist investing,” or investing to advance social goals in addition to profits. Leheney said that while seeking the highest returns is good, that does not mean the state cannot advance other long-term goals as part of its investing strategy.
Finally, we talked about the challenges that third parties, like the Libertarians, face in Illinois elections.
You can see all the past episodes of the Thomas Clatterbuck Show on the Springfield Daily Radio page.
You can also learn more about Leheney and the other candidates for Treasurer on our Campaign Headquarters page.
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